Unanswered questions about jail death
I am sending this in regard to the death (by hanging) of Ronald Boileau while in custody of Washington County Jail. Ron was arrested on Dec. 5, 2012, for drug-related charges. He hanged himself in his cell on Dec. 12, 2012.
I am the ex-wife and mother of his youngest daughter. Ron and I remained friends through a divorce, and co-parented our daughter Chelsey. Even though I pursued a B.A. in criminal justice, I had to sit by while he went down a very slippery slope of drug addiction.
I do not condone the criminal activity, but have many unanswered questions and concerns for Washington County. This is not the first suicide in the new $5 million facility, and a brutal rape has also taken place within the walls of the jail.
I have spoken with Sheriff Jerry Dunbar, and County Attorney Larry Brock, although they are not wanting to hand out information since there is an ongoing investigation in connection with Ron’s arrest. We as a family need to know and want answers.
It seems like awareness of jail suicide, is brushed under the rug. I have worked in corrections and understand how this field of employment is mentally exhausting and do feel for the jailers that were on duty the day that Ron was found dead. That does not change the facts given to the family.
It was reported in The Washington Evening Journal the lack of staff on duty that day (12/12). As we walked out of the sheriff’s office on 12/14/12 (our initial visit), Sheriff Dunbar stopped us and advised the family that they had plenty of staff on that day. I didn’t even know why he made that comment, till later on. Seemed strange that he wanted to make that clear. During that visit he explained that at 12 p.m. the inmates went into lockdown till 1 p.m., and that there is to be one check every hour. This means physically walking and looking into each occupied cell. This was not completed. When they were letting the men out at 1 p.m., the jailer walked by and saw what he thought was Ron sitting on the floor, but didn’t notice that there was something strange, and an item tied to his neck. Ron was in a cell by himself, and no foul play was determined.
Ron had just been told the morning of 12/12 by this attorney that he was facing 50 years for the charges he was arrested for. He had an extensive drug arrest record, but was still very much loved. Dunbar stated that there was no evidence that he was manufacturing methamphetamines (given his previous charges I disagree), then was told by Brock that there was no evidence that he was even using this drug. My 18-year-old daughter had to speak up and disagree with him. It was reported that there was a several-month-long investigation and was confirmed by Brock that the investigation began in September. At least three controlled buys were conducted since that time. I have asked for his arrest report — since he is deceased, that shouldn’t be an issue — but was told no. All we want to know is what led up to his death. I stated to Brock: so, a man that comes off the streets is offered no detox, not watched closer due to the time of year, and just given the severity of the offenses (after all, he was just told hours before that he was facing more-or-less a life sentence). When a person is detoxing, guilt and remorse set in. He felt worthless enough due to his past; he made his own choices in life and I do not make excuses for him, but do believe that the inmates should be given some sort of help.
All the family wants is to have some questions answered, and want to know why, since he was in the custody of the Washington County Jail, the daughters have to endure the cost of an autopsy and funeral costs.
Why has this happened before? Is there neglect within the facility?
Why was there not the hourly check made?
Why does the family have to cover the cost related to the death, since he was in the custody of the jail?
Why was there a report made that the jail was understaffed?
Why are they hiding the arrest report?
Why is there nothing in place for detox purposes?
I would (as well as other family members) like answers to these questions, not that we excuse any actions that Ron had done (not convicted for). We do not want any other family to have to go through this sort of devastating experience.